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Making the switch from personal profile to business profile...

With nearly more than 400 million global users, Facebook is the 2nd most visited website in the world.  Its users spend 3x more time on it than they do using Google. 

I doubt that very many small businesses need to be convinced to the importance of having a presence on the site.  Nearly all of the businesses within the development have established a presence.

However, using Facebook correctly is perhaps more important than just having a presence.  One of the simplest and perhaps biggest mistakes that many of our businesses continue to make is maintaining a personal profile for their businesses instead of a business profile.

There are a few reasons why businesses take the easy route of using a personal profile; it is easier to gain friends by adding them yourself than waiting for them to “like” your brand.  Having a personal profile also allows businesses to reach out to their fans through messaging and inviting them to events, however; most of these actions will quickly be seen as spam-like by your fans and be detrimental to your brand.

I’ve put together a short list of reasons why businesses using personal profile pages should make the switch to the more professional business profile page.

1- Facebook Terms of Use—According to the Facebook terms of use, a personal profile page on Facebook must represent an individual.   Though many businesses have gotten away with setting themselves up as a person, there is a team in the Facebook corporate office charged with finding these profiles and deleting them.  Though the thought of “starting over” with your fan base may seem like a daunting task, I’ve seen several businesses (even in River Ranch) wake up to find that their entire profile and 100s or 1000s of their contacts have been deleted by the Facebook gods and lost forever. 

2-  Insights- Facebook business profiles have built a built in application called insights, which allow business owners to analyze various metrics about their fan bases.  This handy feature allows business owners to study many different aspects of their Facebook presence and fan base such as fan demographics, page views, interactions and much more.  This can be immensely useful when determining how to focus your social media efforts.

3- Flexibility and Applications- Though Facebook in general is less flexible with layout than many other social sites like Twitter or MySpace, business profiles allow for a great deal more flexibility than personal profiles.   With business profiles, you can add side banners with links, pictures and content.  Business profiles also allow for the integration of many applications, which can help to make your page more interactive and engage your fans. 

4-  Search Engine Optimization- Your customers are searching for you at the exact moment when they are ready to buy.  If your online presence isn’t strong enough that they can easily find you when they search, they will buy from your competitors.  Having a business profile on Facebook gives one more way for your customers to find you.  On a recent search for one of my clients, 3 of the first 10 results led me to their Facebook profile.  If that client had a personal profile instead of a business profile, Google wouldn’t have known about their page and it is likely a competitor’s page would have filled those slots.